On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Strawberry layered cake for lunch

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Strawberry Layered Cake2

I’m a little delayed in getting this cake written up. But I was a tad busy in the kitchen this weekend which left me little to no time to sit down, for anything.

We’ve had some of our Australian team visiting for a few weeks, and that combined with one of our Consultants leaving on Friday was cause for a shared lunch.

This cake recipe I used to make one of the layers for the cake I made for Mother’s Day, except it wasn’t right. I made a change thinking it wouldn’t matter (replace Strawberry Jelly powder with freeze dried Strawberry powder), but it did. Add to that I wrapped the cake up and put it into the freezer before it was completely cooled, meant I was doomed.

This is what the cake should have looked like.

Pink cake batter

Yep, now we’re talking. A properly pink cake batter. Not that greyish colour I ended up with using the strawberry powder. Oh, and I have proper cake flour! I’ve grown tired of substituting cake powder with a few tablespoons less standard flour replacing those tablespoons with cornflour. That’s not such a big deal. But sifting it 5 or so times is a couple of minutes (and mess) I could spend doing something else, like sitting down Winking smile

What I have found is that spraying the cake pans with Wilton Bake Easy and then flouring the tin (as directed) leaves this thick coating around the cakes, as you can see in this first photo.

Filling and covering a layered cake

Notice how little frosting I had left for decorating? That’s a 12” disposable bag, that’s barely holding any frosting. I was a bit miffed. What I wanted to do wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to pipe a border around the base and do something different to the top than what I ended up doing.

The other disappointing thing was the colour of the frosting. The strawberry puree added some colour as expected, but it was far from pink. There’s a whole lot of butter in the frosting. I expected that it would leave the frosting a little “yellow” but even adding a touch of electric pink food gel wasn’t making a difference. So the vintage flower I’d made (and had to remake) wasn’t going to be used because it was pink (well a mottled pink and white) and that frosting was quite apricot in looks.

Not so pink frosting

Often there’s cake at work. Sometimes for someone’s birthday, sometimes because we’re celebrating some work achievement. One of my bug bears is to see a perfectly good cake hacked by someone too eager to get a piece and with complete disregard for the number of pieces that could be sliced to give more people a taste.

So I’m sort of the official cake slicer. Yes I get paper towels to wipe the knife clean(er). The knives at work are not really the types you’d expect to make tidy clean slices without tearing at the cake.

It will come as no surprise to you that I bought my own knife a tea towel (for wiping the blade clean) and a cake slice. You could look at it that I’m well prepared given the opportunity, or I have a few issues that need (?) to be worked out.

The official cake slicer

So after the first slice, which I proceeded to photograph with my Samsung Galaxy III, I managed to then get 16 slices from the cake.

There had been a few ooh’s and ahh’s when people spied the cake, but then there was so much cake! So much cake that each cake had left-overs. Which suited me. I could bring a slice home for Mr Fussy and try to do what I could with it for taking a photo in a better environment.

Even layers

This poor slice was an abandoned piece that ended up with another slice laid over it – hence the out of place crumbs in the frosting layers. But those layers are perfectly flat and that’s thanks for the Wilton cake strips. It makes the task of decorating a lot easier and quicker.

Straight sides

While the tops were nice and even, the shrinkage of the cake in the pans differed enough to make frosting the sides a slower job to make sure that I ended up with nice straight sides. I think it worked out well enough. I just wish the top was a bit cleaner. But there’ll be plenty more opportunities to practice and this is a touch better than any cake I’ve frosted that didn’t have some sort of frosted pattern up the sides.

I used my bench scraper which is generally used for when I’m working with dough but it’s often mentioned as a handy way to get straight sides on a cake.

So after all this, the recipe I used is found on Rosie’s blog Sweetapolita. Rosie found it on allrecipes and adapted it slightly. I didn’t look at the original recipe to see what those adaptions were.

The cake is really moist. So moist that the doily stuck to the cake. I had to keep warning anyone taking a slice to remember to peel off the paper.

First slice

There seemed to be mixed reaction to the frosting. I saw that some people had left the frosting from the top of the cake on their plate, and others mentioned how much they loved the frosting and that it wasn’t too sweet. So like all things in life, one thing will be many things to many people. You might notice that while I can cut a cake into nice even slices, I seem not to have mastered (yet) how to get a good cut to ensure each layer comes to the same point.

Little pearls

You can see some of the puree through the frosting. You can of course strain the strawberry puree which will eliminate most of the bursts of reddish pink popping out of the cake. While I couldn’t use the fondant flower I’d made, I used two different sized white pearls to give the cake a little bit extra interest. Mr Fussy, who ate that slice I bought home thought there was something crunchy in the cake, he had quite forgotten the little pearls on top of the cake.

If you’re looking for a bright colourful cake for a birthday then I think you can’t do better than this. I baked the cake on the Tuesday evening, popped all the layers in the fridge (after completely cooling them) and then decorated the cake Wednesday night, returning the cake to the fridge. I can tell you the frosting set as you’d expect when a good chunk of it is butter. But during the ride into work I began to smell the cake and it really didn’t seem to take long before the frosting was beginning to soften.

Strawberry Layered Cake1

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